Chelsea have had a troubled season this year. While their second half has been a lot better, their first half was their worst in over a decade so much that they had to sack the same manager who won them the EPL title last season. Well, things have become better since he has left, but there is still a lot to do to get Chelsea back to their best. A major rebuilding is set to happen at this end of the current season and new manager Antonio Conte has his eyes set on a number of players whom he wants to bring to Chelsea. One such player is Radja Nainggolan. But this gives way to the question of what will happen to Nemanja Matic if Nainggolan arrives at Stamford Bridge?
Radja Nainggolan currently plays for Italian side AS Roma in the Italian Serie A. Nainggolan has made 32 appearances this season and scored 5 goals and registered 1 assist. He has also created 38 chances and has completed 1313 passes with a passing accuracy of 85%. Nainggolan has also won 47% of his average duels. He is an integral player of the current Roma side and has been pivotal in both the Serie A and the Champions League. He is a hard tackling player who loves to slide tackle and win balls from the opposition on their counter. Antonio Conte has been watching him from his Cagliari days and has high regards for the player. But will he replace Matic in the Chelsea squad?
Nemanja Matic has had a very average season to be honest. Like Chelsea, he too had a miserable first half and has had a better second half this season. He has made 29 appearances, scored 1 goal and registered 2 assists. Matic has completed 1195 passes with a passing accuracy of 88%. He has also created 16 chances and won 46% of his average duels. Well the stats are pretty average to be honest and that’s the reason why there are so many rumors about the midfielder’s future at Chelsea.
In my opinion, Matic will keep his place in the Chelsea team. The reason is his effectiveness when he is properly guided. Let us not forget last season when he was arguably the best central midfielder in EPL and one of the best in the world. He was just a delight to watch. He was performing the role of a central defensive midfielder who was also providing playmaking options to the team. It was his role that allowed players like Fabregas to go ahead and attack. He was extremely pivotal in the Chelsea team. It seemed the entire team was built around him. Having known Conte and his amazing team management skills, I feel Matic will be back to his best next season. Conte seems to be the perfect person to get things sorted at Chelsea and Matic is one such person who needs a good manager to make him believe in himself. Nainggolan has been good for quite a few seasons now, but one thing that we should not forget is he has played almost his entire career in Italy. He is 27 years old and right now to come and adjust in the English game might take some time. Plus football in Italy is slow paced and the level of physicality is not so high as well.
Will Nainggolan be able to adjust to the English way? We can’t really tell now. But Matic is a player who adjusted to Chelsea right from the start of his second spell with the club. Rather his adaptability level is the thing that surprised many last season. All he needs is a coach who can sit with him and make him realize his strengths and weaknesses. And once he realizes that, trust me he will be a treat to watch again.